Low wages? That means the system is working

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At this point in time in the United States, it seems like everyone and their mom is radicalizing in one direction or another. Inflation is incredibly high, wages are incredibly low, and the nation is spiraling towards recession. It seems like nothing can be bought at a reasonable price without a laborer somewhere unwillingly giving their soul to get it to the purchaser, and even “reasonable price” is becoming a bit of an overstatement. Radicalization seems to make the most sense; someone has to be blamed for this.  

I would argue that it is in the very nature of the system, intended or not, that unstable times like these come to pass. Consider the employer/employee relationship: the employer’s goal is to get as much profit out of the employee’s labor as possible by paying them as little as legally possible and, as has been proven over and over again, less, if they can get away with it. The employee’s goal is to get as much pay for their labor as possible. The interests of the employer and those of the employee are in direct conflict.  

What is often forgotten by both parties is that the employer, even though they have hiring and firing power, is entirely lost without the labor of the employee. Despite any organizational contributions the employer may add, it is the employee’s labor at the end of the day that makes any money at all, whether they are creating a product or just selling it. Yet, due to the laws of ownership, the employer (given that they are also the owner) has complete control over where that money ends up. Part of it is spent on overhead, of course: the workspace, the materials, etc. Some goes back to the employee, as is legally required, and is also used as an incentive for the employee to return to work the next week. The rest is deemed “profit” and goes to the employer.  

Right now, as rent is becoming unrealistically expensive everywhere in America for the average employee and the cost of everything is rising, wages are no longer enough to incentivize employees to return to work the next week. As wages become too little to afford the increasing prices of basic necessities, members of the workforce everywhere are realizing something huge; especially if they are working for a big, multi-million-dollar company like McDonald’s or Amazon, they will never be paid appropriately for the value that they produce through their labor as long as the people above them are making a profit. As long as there is an employer to claim some value as their own despite not directly doing the labor to create it, the employee will never receive the full value of their labor.  

As coveted as wages are for survival under our current system, wages most often represent the absolute minimum that employers are willing to give of the value that their employees produce. The only way for an employee to escape the exploitation of having the value of their labor under another person’s control is to either become an employer themselves and steal the labor value of someone else or to collectivize and get rid of the middleman: the private ownership of companies.